[JPL] Re: Younger People on the Radio

Andy Cook ajcook68 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 9 11:44:31 EST 2007

Jae, I agree with you about training younger talents, who like the music, but they are unaware of certain pronounication's of artists names and tunes.  I had the same problem years ago when I was the Jazz Coordinator at Emerson College's WERS-FM.  In a college radio environment, where staff is student and/or community volunteers, unfortunately you may have those issues. I always made the time and effort to teach and correct my airstaff on those discprepancies because I had a responsibility to make sure the show sounded good.

I understand the pool of talent out there for aspiring young jazz announcers/producers is very thin, much like jazz today as a radio format.  In college, students who signed up hosting shows mostly were interested in the folk, reggae, rock,  dance/hip-hop shows.  I'd be lucky to try and fill 5 hosts and maybe a couple of subs to cover 5 days during the week.  I didn't have the luxury of selecting what airchecks I liked and didn't like.  I just had to make due with what I had, and make the best of it by training these students myself.  

However, when there is that opportunity, if a radio station is looking for a jazz announcer/producer to fill-in a show, I think if you get some resumes and tapes that may have candidates who know about the music, and have some radio experience, but are younger, and could possibly have some new ideas, and approaches to programming a jazz show, these folks should be looked at and seriously considered. 

For example, back in 2002 and 2003, their was a station in Boston that had a opening, back to back years, for a weekend jazz host/producer.  Both times, I was a finalist of three candidates out of about 100 resumes and tapes that the PD claimed he had received.  The PD's in both interviews in 02/03 were very open minded and understanding of my concepts of programming a jazz show that was focused on a younger audience, emphasizing new music, however, also continuing to play the classic jazz like Duke, Miles, Blakey, Trane etc.  Well, I lost out on both jobs, two years in a row, basically to someone who was much older than me, that didn't have nearly the radio experience I had previously, including programming jazz, but were already part-time fill-ins at the station.  So, the PD's in the end, decided to play it safe, and go with an internal hire, without taking a chance in hiring a more experienced, younger,  out of house person like me.  This situation also happened at other
 stations I applied to across the country that had openings as well.  

This has got to change, and change dramatically, or else all the existing jazz personalities that are 50-60+years now, when they retire someday, there is not going to be anyone left follow their footsteps to keep jazz alive on the radio.  We can all take a lesson from Art Blakey and how he led The Jazz Messengers over the years, especially during some tough times from late 60's through the mid 70's, getting very few gigs to play.  He always hired up and coming, young, talented musicians to follow in the footsteps of his previous sidemen, right until the day he passed in 1990, from Clifford Brown to Brian Lynch, Hank Mobley to Javon Jackson, Bobby Timmons to Geoff Keezer etc.
They all became incredible artists in jazz, that continued the development of the music.

Andy Cook

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